Israel's Economic Challenges

In addition to the problems most economies face, Israel must deal with issues unique to its situation.

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This leads to some difficult questions. The relative lack of workforce participation, as noted, stems from voluntary decisions taken by adults in specific sectors with established sub-cultures within Israel. To what extent can or should efforts be directed at changing such attitudes? Do individuals in a democratic society who choose to refrain from working bear responsibility to their fellow citizens because they lower per-capita GDP as a result?

On the other hand, does society bear responsibility for supplying economic welfare to adults who are impoverished because they explicitly refuse gainful employment? And what of their children? This subject will likely be an increasingly important source of contention in Israeli society in the future.

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Ziv Hellman is a Jerusalem-based writer and mathematician. A former editor at the Jerusalem Post, Ziv was a founding member of Peace Watch--the watchdog group reporting on the implementation of the Oslo Agreements. He also led the Israeli elections observer team evaluating the Palestinian Authority elections.